Exclusive: Joshua Bitz, Squeaky Bean's former sous, to open Meadowlark Kitchen in November
Lori Midson Joshua Bitz, a former sous chef at the Squeaky Bean, is opening Meadowlark Kitchen in mid-November.
"I started cooking because my parents wouldn't buy me a snowboard," says Joshua Bitz. And at the age of twelve, he was in his first kitchen, scrubbing plates to save money for a snowboard and lift tickets to get him on the hill. The kitchen, he says, has been his home ever since, and in mid-November, Bitz, along with his business partner Casey Karns (the younger brother, by the way, of Chris Karns, a DJ who won the 2011 DMC World DJ Championships), will open Meadowlark Kitchen at 2705 Larimer Street.
Bitz, who was a sous chef at the original Squeaky Bean in Highland, and again at the Squeaky Bean in LoDo, departed that kitchen in August, around he same time as executive Max MacKissock, who's now at Williams & Graham. "Max taught me just about everything I know about fine dining, and his treatment of ingredients, especially vegetables, was incredible," says Bitz.
Still, he admits that leaving the Bean was a decision based on a future of opportunity. "I left because I wanted to do my own thing, and I had a really unique situation that would allow me to do a project with one of my best friends. It's something we've been talking about for a long time," says Bitz.
He and Karns looked at spaces in Highland, but this address -- the former residence of Youth on Record, a nonprofit run by the Denver-based band, the Flobots -- caught his attention, and when he met the landlord, Loy Merck, who also owns the next-door Meadowlark Bar, his fate was solidified. "I remember walking back to the patio and meeting Loy, who said he wanted a kitchen in the space, and I told him I was his guy," recalls Bitz, adding that he "loves the feel of the building and the vibe of the neighborhood. There's just a culture to this neighborhood that's unique, and it felt right."
The quarters, which measure 1,200 square feet, excluding the covered back patio, which is about the same size as the interior and will undergo a remodel, will trumpet a twenty-seat bar that pours Colorado brews, wines on tap and a few craft cocktails, an open kitchen with a six-seat chef's counter, a big butcher's block and rustic decor that integrates wood, exposed brick, iron and cement. "It's going to be sexy," says Bitz.